Autocar's Top 10 Cars from the past 12 months
The 458 is crossing-continents comfortable, yet satisfyingly challenging and vocal in nature
Its cornering performance impresses
Yours for £169,545
562bhp from a naturally aspirated 4.5-litre engine
Aston Martin Rapide: most elegant four-door sports car in the world? You bet it is, and then some
Cabin feels – and is – considerably more tailored than Porsche's Panamera
XJ wrestles Jaguar’s styling clear of the cautious traditionalism
Six-speed torque converter performs well
New-to-Jaguar digital dashboard display, in place of conventional, real analogue dials
The past 12 months have been eventful for the motoring industry. Brands have been diversifying like never before - just look at the Audi A1, Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke for proof.
But for all the new metal, it is some of our established favourites that have come out, once again, on top in the Autocar office. So here are our Top 10 Cars from 2010, from a luxury new Aston four-door saloon to one of the cheapest cars on sale in the UK.
Aston Martin Rapide - Richard Bremner“True, this car is considerably more expensive than the Porsche Panamera, but the Aston is decidedly better looking, its cabin feels – and is – considerably more tailored and it gets rarer, relative to the more-produced Porsche, by the week.
“This is one of Britain’s finest cars.”
BMW 320ED – Andrew Frankel“If you can extract these numbers from an old saloon without a battery or electric motor in sight, then reports of the imminent demise of the unencumbered internal combustion engine would appear grossly exaggerated.
“On the contrary, on this evidence I fully expect it to see us all out.”
Citroen DS3 - Matt Saunders“There can be no clearer indication of greatness in a new car, surely, than that it should change the way we perceive the company that makes it. That’s what the DS3 does.
“And as far as Citroen’s ‘DS’ brand is concerned, this is only the beginning.”
Ferrari 458 Italia – Steve Cropley“The 458 is crossing-continents comfortable, yet satisfyingly challenging and vocal in nature; easy to operate yet positioned in the rarified atmosphere for both straight-line and cornering performance.
“It’s one of those cars that flatters the competent driver, yet (so I’m told) gives the expert something extra to work with. Above all, it is clearly one of those Ferrari models that represents a special step forward for the marque, and always will.”
Ford S-Max – Vicky Parrott“It’s so dominant in its sector, in fact that - rather like Schumacher’s reign back in the day – it would be a welcome break in the norm for a new rival to really challenge the S-Max. But whichever way you look at it the Ford is just the best there is at what it does. And that’s without the sabotage, corruption and bad haircuts.
“There can be no better justification than that for its place in our Top 10.”
Hyundai i10 – Matt Prior“Want a car that, for under £8000, comes with air conditioning, electric front windows, remote central locking, MP3 connectivity, five doors and a five year unlimited mileage warranty? That’ll be the i10.
“And above all, want a city car that can do more than just compete in the city? One that has arguably the finest gearshift among current production cars and relatively engaging handling? That’ll be … well, you can see where this is going, can’t you?”
Jaguar XJ – John Mcilroy“Perhaps the XJ’s crowning achievement is that it finally wrestles Jaguar’s styling clear of the cautious traditionalism that blighted so many of its big saloon offerings of the past 20 years.
“I was always aware that the previous-generation XJ featured some cutting-edge aluminium construction techniques, for example, but I’d never have considered buying one because it looked like it ought to have been racing down a cardboard box-littered side street on an episode of The Sweeney.”
Porsche 911 GT3 RS – Steve Sutcliffe“No matter how much more usable the GT3 RS may turn out to be as a road car, the best place to drive it is on a track. Flat out, on the edge, balls to the wall. That’s where this car reaches it zenith.
“And that’s when it becomes untouchable – even by cars like the Ferrari 458 and Noble M600. Which, believe me, is saying something.”
Renaultsport Clio Cup – Jamie Corstorphine“We know of Clio Cups that share garage space with much more exotic machinery, and that get selected for a trackday use because they offer equal amusement with far fewer consumable costs.
“But of course the Clio Cup is not the reserve of the fortunate few, because beyond its ability bring a smile to your face, or take apart a challenging road, the Cup’s defining quality is that it is accessible. Pound for pound it is the most exciting car on sale.”
Skoda Superb Estate – Hilton Holloway“For all its virtues as a super-capacious estate, there are few cars – especially at this price – better suited to UK roads, proving that driving pleasure doesn’t have to be synonymous with aggressive damping, darty steering and bump-thump.”